Skip to main content

Interpreting Popular Christian Music from Theological and Musicological Perspectives: The Example of Damaris Joy

  • 122 Accesses

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges book series (PSLRSC)

Abstract

Damaris Joy was one of the best-known “Popular Christian Music” (PCM) acts in German conservative religious milieus during the 1980s. In contrast to the Anglo-American “Contemporary Christian Music”, the German PCM has rarely been subject to academic research, despite being considered as a distinct musical genre, as well as an important aspect in the life of certain groups of believers. This article discusses exemplary close readings of Damaris Joy’s songs from both a theological and a musicological perspective. Through the presented exemplary analyses, we argue that the band’s lyrics deal especially with Christological topics so as to address mainstream culture, whilst the respective musical style punctuates and clearly strengthens the theological message of the respective songs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-59381-0_5
  • Chapter length: 27 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-59381-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    Among the few relevant academic works are several essays in Kabus (ed.) (2003) as well as in Bossius et al. (eds.) (2011), Rux (2014), Luhr (2009), the latter focusing on PCM in the US, Moberg (2009) about Christian heavy metal and the short overview by Flender (1999) about the PCM scene in the Siegerland area. For additional publications, see McDowell (2013).

  2. 2.

    From an insider perspective, the history of the band is described in detail on Hans-Martin Wahler’s website Damaris Joy Archiv: Wahler (n.d.). Further information has been gathered from a personal report by Hans-Martin Wahler at the University of Siegen (November 23, 2015) and from an interview with Karl-Friedrich Wahler (February 7, 2017).

  3. 3.

    The German equivalent of “Bandage”, “Verband”, does not only denote a medical brace, but also a communal association.

  4. 4.

    “an alle leute, die mit zeitgemäßer musik die frohe botschaft von jesus christus weitersagen wollen!!!!!”, copy of type-written letter by Hans-Martin Wahler, Siegen, May 19, 1976 (personal archive).

  5. 5.

    A power chord consists only of a fundamental, fifth and an octave, which makes a clear association with major or minor tonality very difficult.

References

Oral History Sources

  • Wahler, Hans-Martin. 2015. Personal Report in a Course on Christian Popular Music, Organized by Veronika Albrecht-Birkner and Florian Heesch, University of Siegen, November 23, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wahler, Karl-Friedrich. 2017. Interview by Ruthild Stöhr, February 7, 2017.

    Google Scholar 

Bibliography

  • Böhm, Uwe, and Gerd Buschmann. 2006. Popmusik—Religion—Unterricht: Modelle und Materialien. Zur Didaktik von Popularkultur. Münster: Lit.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bossius, Thomas, Andreas Häger, and Keith Kahn-Harris, eds. 2011. Religion and Popular Music in Europe: New Expressions of Sacred and Secular Identity. London: I.B.Tauris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brinkmann, Frank Thomas, ed. 2016. Pop goes my heart: Religions- und popkulturelle Gespräche im 21. Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brockhaus, Immanuel. 2017. Kultsounds: Die prägendsten Klänge der Popmusik 1960–2014. Bielefeld: Transcript.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Buschmann, Gerd, and Martin Guth. 1998. Zwei Kapitel Christologie in der Pop-Musik: das Jesus-Bild in ‘Brother’s Keeper’ von den ‘Neville Brothers’ und in ‘Hymn’ von ‘Barclay James Harvest’ als Bausteine für den Religionsunterricht. Katechetische Blätter: Zeitschrift für religiöses Lernen in Schule und Gemeinde 123: 61–68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Comstock, Madison. 2015. Religion in Country Music. February 21, 2015. Accessed August 19, 2018. https://sites.dwrl.utexas.edu/countrymusic/2015/02/21/religion-in-country-music/.

  • Flender, Christina. 1999. Mittel zum heiligen Zweck—Evangelistische Rockmusik im Siegerland der 80er Jahre. In “Tief im Westen... ”: Rock und Pop in NRW, ed. Christina Flender, Ansgar Jerrentrup, and Uwe Husslein, 146–163. Köln: Emons.

    Google Scholar 

  • Janus, Richard. 2017. Pop als Theologie—Theologie als Pop: Masse und Unterhaltung als theologisches Problem. In Massen und Masken: Kulturwissenschaftliche und theologische Annäherungen, ed. Richard Janus, Florian Fuchs, and Harald Schroeter-Wittke, 55–70. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kabus, Wolfgang, ed. 2003. Popularmusik und Kirche: Positionen, Ansprüche, Widersprüche. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  • Luhr, Eileen. 2009. Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDowell, Amy D. 2013. Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). February 11, 2013. Accessed August 19, 2018. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-1002234810.

  • Moberg, Marcus. 2009. Faster for the Master! Exploring Issues of Religious Expression and Alternative Christian Identity within the Finnish Christian Metal Music Scene. Turku: Åbo Akademi University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rux, Tobias. 2014. Christian Rock—Unterhaltung oder mehr? Eine Betrachtung unter kulturanthropologischen und musikwissenschaftlichen Aspekten. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Schnell, Walter. 1976. Wichtige Hilfen für die Lebensgestaltung: Offene Abende in der Siegerlandhalle—Junge Christen bieten Alternative. Siegener Zeitung, March 1.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schroeter-Wittke, Harald, ed. 2015. Popkultur und Religion: Best of …. Jena: Garamond.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tagg, Philip. 2013. Music’s Meanings: A Modern Musicology for Non-Musos. New York: The Mass Media Music Scholars’ Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wahler, Hans-Martin. n.d. Damaris Joy Archiv. Accessed August 19, 2018. http://www.damarisjoy.de/damarisjoy.htm.

  • Ziff, Bruce H., and Pratima V. Rao, eds. 1997. Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation. New Brundwick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Discography

Videography

  • Blues Brothers (1980, USA, John Landis, Universal Pictures)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Reinhard Kopanski .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Appendix

Appendix

Songs by Damaris Joy mentioning Jesus (chronological order).

Song Lang. Words & music Year Record
Seine Liebe German Hans-Martin Wahler 1980 Damaris Joy Live
Preacherman English Hans-Martin Wahler 1980 Damaris Joy Live
Er wartet auf dich German Hans-Martin Wahler 1980 Damaris Joy Live
Mein Leben lang German Hans-Martin Wahler 1980 Damaris Joy Live
Lebensuhr German Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1980 Damaris Joy Live
Ganz anders German Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1983 Revive Us
On My Way English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1983 Revive Us
Dein Blick German Hans-Martin Wahler 1983 Revive Us
Was erwarte ich von Gott? German Hans-Martin Wahler 1983 Revive Us
Ungelöste Fragen German Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1983 Revive Us
Graue Stadt German Hans-Martin Wahler 1983 Revive Us
Get Away English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1983 Revive Us
Denn er ist Liebe German Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1983 Revive Us
Miracles English Hans-Martin Wahler 1984 With Compliments
A Willing Heart English Hans-Martin Wahler 1984 With Compliments
True Believer English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1984 With Compliments
Midnight English Hans-Martin Wahler 1985 Jubilee Tour ´85
Spuren German Hans-Martin Wahler 1985 Jubilee Tour ´85
Hoffnung German Hans-Martin Wahler 1985 Jubilee Tour ´85
Tell Them English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1987 Open Door
Friends English Frieder Jost 1987 Open Door
Just For You English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 1987 Open Door
Night of the Proms English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 2002 Limited Edition
Pick Up the Fallen Ones English Heinz-Helmut Jost-Naujoks 2002 Limited Edition
Any Time English Hans-Martin Wahler 2002 Limited Edition

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Kopanski, R., Albrecht-Birkner, V., Heesch, F., Stöhr, R. (2021). Interpreting Popular Christian Music from Theological and Musicological Perspectives: The Example of Damaris Joy. In: Gelfgren, S., Lindmark, D. (eds) Conservative Religion and Mainstream Culture . Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59381-0_5

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-59381-0_5

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-59380-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-59381-0

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)